So you know back in the day, we used to have this annual carnival at my hometown. Nothing over the top – No Brazilian dancers or colorful parades. But it meant the world to me. It took place in the month of March, which also happens to be my birthday month, and more often than not the carnival week used to coincide with my birthday. Need I ask for more? As a spinning top, all of eight, I used to be all over the place. For a kid hopped up on sugar, being in that place used to be like finding gold. No, wait, not just finding gold but finding gold with ice-cream on it.
Every year as soon as the calendar was out, I used to earmark those special magical seven days of endless fun. You know? The merry-go-round, the giant wheel or even the snake charmers for that matter (told you it was a small town!) So much so, that at a tender age of seven I knew that I had to save up for the big event all round the year, because whatever I’d manage to save, mum and dad, tripled that sum, respectively. So the more I saved the merry-go-roundier it was. I’d show off my giant pool of money to my friends and cousins before all the fun began, because no one in my entire group could even come close to me. I was always on top of the pocket-money pyramid. (This from a girl, who has never been a topper in a class of forty – her entire life.)
Anyway year after year passed like that and by the time I reached eighth grade, I had become this self proclaimed version of ‘too cool for school.’ Suddenly the carnival seemed lame to me and I couldn’t make, what the fuss was all about? I don’t know when exactly this happened but suddenly the people who attended that thing, seemed nothing but big dorks to me.
‘Huh! Losers,’ I’d role my eyes, ‘I am just glad I am not into this stuff anymore.’
Little did I know that some fifteen years down the line – I’d miss being a part of that little space so much that suddenly the best lounges in the city wouldn’t make me feel one millionth as happy as I was back then. But at that point of time my hatred for the little carnival only increased with every passing year. Something that brought me such joy as a child was now nothing but a mere nuisance. ‘Urghhh what’s with so much noise?’ I’d whine every evening and my parents would just give me a blank expression, which was enough to send chills down ones spine. ‘Ah! But what do they know?’ I’d shrug.
Life zigzags funnily – at fifteen I thought I owned the world, at twenty six not any more. EYES WIDE OPEN.
Some five years ago I visited home and found my little nephew equally (if not more) excited about the whole thing. ‘What? They are still doing it,’ it was as if I had dumped that memory, underneath all that crap life had handed over to me (Heartbreaks, tears and irony to name a few).
‘Of course it’s going on,’ said my father, ‘What did you think? It’d stop just because some people stopped valuing it?’ SARCASM DRIPPING ALL OVER THE PLACE.
‘No, that’s not what I meant,’ I replied quickly, ‘how about I come along?’ I questioned, in my bid to do some damage control.
‘Sure why not? Although let me tell you it’s not half as fancy as things are in your big city.’
‘Papa, will you let go now?’
And so I did visit that carnival after a lapse of say eight nine years. And boy! Nothing had changed. Kids were still fluttering all over the space. There was firework. There was light and most importantly, there was joy. But you know what gnawed at my insides though? It was that feeling – when you let go of someone great in your life – just cause you thought you were too good for them. And when you realize your mistake you come running to them and nice people, that they are, they forgive in a jiffy. But it’s that niceness which kills you inside, for being so selfish to them at one point of time. It could be anyone, your ex, your best friend, or may be a distant cousin. That’s the feeling I got that day. Even though the best memory of my life had welcomed me back with an open heart – it was me who could not see eye to eye – with my sweet little carnival. It felt as if I didn’t belong there anymore. As if I had lost that right to claim it as my best memory and boy it hurt!
But for what it’s worth, I did see it as my first of the many eye openers to come. And there on onwards, there has been not a single year when I have not made it to that carnival, in the hope that it accepts me once again 🙂